Before you choose a snorkel, it is important to know that there are several different types of snorkels to choose from depending on what you require and what type of activity you’ll be taking part in.
Types Of Snorkels
The classic snorkel is sometimes referred to as a ‘J-style’ snorkel. This snorkel consists of a simple plastic tube, with a mouthpiece attached. It is usually slightly bent however, can also be made into a more specific shape to suit the owner.
This is, by far the most affordable type of snorkel available and can be used for both scuba diving as well as snorkeling. This snorkel is slightly more ridged than other types of snorkels, which can make it more uncomfortable for the user. Another thing to be aware of is that if you’re on the surface and this particular snorkel becomes completely submerged, you will have to inhale fully and expel the air through it forcefully to clear it. This is a great option for a beginner as it is simple and easy to use.
There are a number of advantages if you choose a classic snorkel…
- They are super affordable.
- Perfect if you’re new to snorkeling or scuba diving.
- Really easy to pack if you’re taking it abroad.
There are also a few disadvantages to remember before purchasing it…
- The material it is made from is quite hard and can be uncomfortable.
- To clear it properly, you need to exhale forcefully.
- Can leak easily.
This type of snorkel has a valve at the top of the snorkel. This valve completely blocks water, once the snorkel has been submerged, as well as air. It also has a purge valve at the base, making it really easy to expel the water from the tube, once at the surface. This snorkel also allows snorkelers to glide along the surface of the ocean, duck down under the surface and resurface all without having to worry about clearing out the tube constantly.
If you’re using this snorkel whilst scuba diving, you can save energy at the surface as you don’t need to push out the water from the snorkel as it is already clear.
The purge valve at the bottom of this snorkel allows you to exhale quickly and remove any water that should enter the tube.
This is an efficient snorkel to use and is a good choice for divers and snorkelers alike, it does however have a couple of issues. There is a valve at the top of the snorkel, which can sometimes get blocked, making it difficult to breathe through. In addition, the dry snorkel constant has air inside the tube, which means that it remains buoyant throughout a dive or whilst you’re under the water. It can also increase drag whilst swimming through the water.
The advantages of dry snorkels are…
- It’s great for going under the water whilst snorkeling.
- It does not need constant clearing.
- Has a purge valve to clear the little accumulation of water that can happen.
The disadvantages of dry snorkels are…
- If the top valve gets blocked, this can make it difficult to breathe.
- Increases in drag.
- Can be more buoyant than other snorkels.
This is a great snorkel for both snorkeling and scuba diving. It is a flexible snorkel with a purge valve and a rigid part. The purge valve only requires a short exhalation to remove any water from inside the tube.
The flexible snorkel is great for divers who prefer a more snug fit around their face.
The advantages of flexible snorkels are…
- Falls away from the face when not in use, which means uninhibited viewing.
- Has a purge valve, to remove water easily from the tube.
- It’s more flexible than the classic snorkel.
- It’s light and easy to travel with.
There are also a few disadvantages to flexible snorkels…
- If you’re snorkeling off a beach and get dirt or sand into the valve, this can cause the airway to get blocked.
- There is nothing stopping the water penetrating the top of the snorkel.
Fine tuning your Snorkeling Skills – Dudarev Mikhail
This snorkel is the perfect combination of a classic and a dry snorkel. Semi-dry snorkels have a splash guard to prevent water from entering the breathing tube from above; some have a flexible tube or a rigid tube and a purge valve at the base.
Some of the purge valves and splash guards work with a moving mechanism, which is not always great as if a small grain of sand gets stuck, this can cause the mechanism to leakage and or blockage.
There are several advantages to a Semi-dry snorkels…
- It’s easy to use and flexible.
- They have a purge valve, and some have a splashguard.
There are also some disadvantages…
- Does leak if dirt or sad gets into the mechanisms.
- The parts that move can break easily and tend to leak after time.
- These are slightly more expensive than other snorkels on offer.
Full Face Snorkel
This snorkel is an all in one combination of a mask and snorkel. The snorkel itself is positioned in the center at the top of the mask. There is no mouthpiece, making this the easiest snorkel to use on the market. Even though it is not a snorkel per say, it is the most suitable for beginners who prefer to breathe freely, without having to bite down on a mouthpiece.
This snorkel can only be used for snorkeling, not scuba diving.
See the Guide to Full Face Snorkel Masks
The Advantages of full-face snorkels are…
- So easy to use.
- Ideal for beginners.
- Allows the jaw to relax.
The Disadvantages of full-face snorkels are…
- You do not have access to your nose, so cannot equalize if you choose to dip under the surface.
- Cannot use for scuba diving.
- Can fog up easily.
- The position of the snorkel can sometimes cause difficulties if the sea is choppy.
- It is quite large in size and can be difficult to pack if you’re traveling.